School science report raises teaching concerns
The findings indicate that the amount of money spent per pupil on science education for the Curriculum for Excellence in primary and secondary schools in Scotland is less than in England for their more traditional courses. The average annual spend on science in 2013/14 in Scottish primary schools was £1.62 per pupil. This compares with £2.89 in England in 2011/12, according to figures obtained by SCORE (Science Community Representing Education). The situation is similar for the Scottish secondary schools surveyed, with an average reported annual spend on science of £7.33 per pupil, compared to £10.12 as detailed in the same SCORE findings.
The survey of teachers from 39 primary and 46 secondary schools was commissioned by the Learned Societies’ Group on Scottish Science Education (LSG), a collaboration of learned scientific societies and professional bodies. The LSG intends to use the findings as it engages with local and national government, schools, parents and industry bodies in efforts to ensure that school science is sufficiently resourced and supported. The group believes that, given national policy ambitions for enhancing and maintaining the vitality of Scotland's strong science base, it is important that priority is afforded to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in primary and secondary schools.
Chair of the LSG, Professor Sally Brown said, “Taking part in science practical work at school is an essential part of the learning process. It demonstrates the essence of science and the scientific method as it underpins the skills that young people need and the country is seeking. Pupils report increased motivation as a result of engaging in their own investigative work and greater interest in considering science-related careers. We have to ensure that their experiences at school are the very best and we know that much work has still to be done before this will be achieved.”
Read a summary of the LSG report The Resourcing of Science in Scottish Schools.